5.4. Creating a New Account

To create a new account go to ActionsNew Account... or click the New Toolbar icon in the Account Tree Window. The New Account dialog will be opened.

The New Account properties dialog consists of two tabs, the General tab and the Opening Balance tab.

Creating a New Account involves planning in advance several details that are used in the New Account dialog.

These details are described below.

5.4.1. General Information Tab

The General tab is used to access the basic information about the account. It provides a way of connecting the account to stock information if it is one of the currency, mutual fund or stock account types. It can also be flagged as a Placeholder account. It displays if it is flagged as a Tax Related account (which is set through the EditTax Report Options dialog).

There are seven fields in the Identification section of this tab.

  1. Account Name: The name for the account such as First Bank Checking.

  2. Account Code: The optional number code as described in Accounts codes.

  3. Description: Optional description for the account.

  4. Security/Currency:


    The Type field in the Select Security is determined by the selection of Account Type panel in the New Account screen.

    • For accounts other than Stock or Mutual Fund this should be the default currency, USD (US Dollar) or your local currency symbol. If this account is for a foreign currency then use the Select... button to choose a different currency from the currencies pull-down list.

    • For Accounts containing a Stock and Mutual Fund; first select stock or mutual fund in the Account Type panel, then the Parent Account, then use the Select... button, to choose the Type (usually the exchange the security is traded on) and security from the Select Security window.

      If the required security/fund is not on the list, and you have the correct Type you will need to create the security/fund. To create a commodity for mutual fund and stock accounts select the New... button in the Select Security screen, to bring up the New Security: screen. The options are described in detail in the Security Editor Section 8.7, “Security Editor” section. Fill in a name, symbol and type and Close to create the security. After the security is created select the Type: (usually the exchange the security is traded on) and the name in the Currency/security: drop down list and Close the screen.

  5. Smallest Fraction: The smallest fraction that will be tracked.

  6. Account Color: The color to assign to the account’s register tab. Click on the color button to open the Pick a Color screen. To reset the account color click the Default button.

  7. Notes: This is a free form text box that can be used for any additional notes about the account.

Below the panes are 3 check-boxes: one to show if the account is Tax Related, one to mark the account as a Placeholder, and one to mark an account Hidden.

The Tax Related check-box means that an account has been flagged to be included in the Tax Schedule Report. This flag is only displayed on the Edit Account dialog and is set in the Income Tax Information dialog ( EditTax Report Options ). For related reports see the examples like Tax Schedule Report and TXF Export in (Section 9.3.7, “Country Specific Reports”).

The Placeholder check-box sets an account to read-only status and prevents the addition of transaction data to the account.


Setting an account to Placeholder will also hide that account in the pop-up account list in a register. Sub-accounts to the placeholder account will still display in the pop-up, however.

The Hidden check box hides an account (and any sub-accounts) in the account tree. To reset this option, you will first need to open the ViewFilter By... dialog for the account tree and check the Show hidden accounts option. Doing so will allow you to select the account and reopen this dialog.


Hidden accounts still appear in the pop-up account list in a register. To remove an account from this pop-up account list as well, check the Placeholder check box.

Below these checkboxes is a pane that contains a list of Account Types. Select a type from the descriptions in Section 5.1, “Types of GnuCash Accounts”.

The next pane contains an account tree to choose a Parent Account. To create a new account tree select New top level account.


The available choices in the Account Type pane depends on the selected account in the Parent Account pane. For example if the Parent Account is Assets you will see only Equity in the Account Type pane. This is to help maintain a proper account structure for the Chart of Accounts.

5.4.2. Steps to enable Online Quotes updating

  1. GnuCash uses an external tool to retrieve online courses. This tool is a Perl module called Finance::Quote and must be installed independently of GnuCash on your computer.


    The installation of Finance::Quote is described under Section 11.2, “Installing Finance::Quote.

  2. Create the Account for the mutual fund or stock with it listed in the Security/Currency field, as described above.


    When creating these accounts it is a good time to create income accounts to track dividends, capital gains (long and short) and expense account(s) for tracking commissions and losses (if you track losses as expenses).

  3. Create the mutual fund or stock with either the Security Editor for existing stock/funds or the New Security/Currency dialog for a new stock/fund.

    Select Get Online Quotes, Type of Quote Source and Timezone.

    Online currency quotes require that the check-box for Online quotes and the timezone be selected in the Security screen and the Security Editor check-box for "get quote" box is checked for those currencies that are to be downloaded.

    • Get Online Quotes This check-box is to enable this security/fund to have quotes downloaded from an online source.

    • Type of Quote Source use the radio buttons to select the type of source for the Online quotes. Multiple: quote sources like Europe should be used if fail-over to multiple sites are desirable. Single: selections will only return information from the specified source.

      After selecting the type of source for price quotes, select a quote source from the pull-down menu. For details on currently supported sources see Section A.1, “Finance::Quote Sources”.


      Note that Yahoo will provide price quotes for many mutual funds including Fidelity, T.Rowe Price and Vanguard, and that the quoted prices at Yahoo should be identical to those that may be found at the source sites.

      If you are outside the US and use one of the different Yahoo sources or multiple sources containing Yahoo, you should append the market code for the security such as PA for Paris, BE for Berlin, etc. Example: 12150.PA (a Peugeot security in the Paris market). Table A.4, “Yahoo Codes for Exchanges and Markets” below lists suffixes for various markets around the world.

      Pseudo-symbols for TIAA-CREF funds are listed in table Table A.5, “Pseudo-symbols that can be used for TIAA-CREF quotes”.

    • Timezone for these quotes: Select the timezone for the source of the online quotes you are receiving. For example, Yahoo normally quotes Eastern timezone, so choose America/New York if you use that quote source.

  4. Select a commodity to the Price Editor.

  5. Select Get Quotes in the Price Editor.

  6. Check the latest price for the selected security.

Remember that Mutual Fund prices are really Net Asset Value and require several hours after the exchange closes before being available. If NAVs are downloaded before the current days NAVs are determined, yesterday’s NAVs are retrieved.

5.4.3. Opening Balance tab

The Opening Balance tab is visible only when creating a new account, and is disabled for Stock and Mutual Fund accounts. In the latter case, opening balances must be created by hand. Please see Section 8.5.1 in the Tutorial and Concepts Guide for instructions if you need to create an opening balance in a Stock or Mutual Fund account. It is used to record the beginning balance for an account. This allows it to be used for two different scenarios. If using GnuCash for the first time to record transactions, it can be used as a beginning balance. If the accounts in use are closed at the end of a period and new accounts are created, it is used to close and carry balances forward.

There are three panes in this tab. The top pane contains the Balance Information.

  • Balance: The balance to start the account with.

  • Date: The date the opening balance should be recorded.

The next pane is the Transfer Type pane.

  • Use Opening Balances Equity account: This transfers the opening balance for the account from a standard Equity account called Opening Balances.

  • Select Transfer Account: This enables the pane below so a different account can be used to transfer the opening balance.

The last pane is the Transfer Account pane. Select the account to use for opening balances from the list of accounts in this pane.